AURORA UNIVERSITY (IL)

The STAR Program at Aurora University provides support to conditionally admitted students to assist them in achieving their academic goals and success during their first year and beyond.

The STAR Program begins each year with a special four-day orientation specifically for the STAR students one week before the fall semester begins.  The orientation provides students an opportunity to adjust to life on campus before the other first year students arrive and prepares them for being a college student in and out of the classroom.  Students attend a variety of sessions and participate in activities that teach them everything they need to know in order to succeed in college.

Some of the topics and activities that students experience during the orientation include:

  • The Aurora University (AU) General Education Program

  • College Classroom Fundamentals: The Lecture

  • College Classroom Fundamentals: The Science Lab

  • College Classroom Fundamentals: The Discussion

  • AU Technology: Moodle, E-mail, and WebAdvisor

  • Campus Scavenger Hunt

  • Scavenging in the Library

  • Wellness At AU

  • Evening Activities with the STAR Mentors

Students in the STAR Program also enroll in the course First Year Experience – Creating Success for College and Beyond during fall semester.  As participants in the course, students develop study strategies and make changes in the way they look at themselves and their lives as college students.

The fall course is designed to help students achieve success in college and in life by developing their study strategies and following the eight On Course program principles: personal responsibility, self-motivation, self-management, interdependence, self-awareness, lifelong learning, emotional intelligence, and belief in yourself.  The course meets once a week for 50 minutes during the 16 week semester.

The course was added to the STAR Program in fall 2008.  In addition to the course goals and purpose listed above, the other reason the course was added to the program was to provide regular contact between the STAR students and the STAR program coordinator.  Prior to fall 2008, the coordinator did not have regular contact with the STAR students except during the STAR orientation and through Academic Progress Reports from the faculty.  The course allowed the students and the program coordinator to stay in contact at least once a week during the class.  The addition of the course had a significant impact on the first semester GPA and the fall to spring retention of the STAR students who started in fall 2008.  Below is comparison data from the STAR program for students who started in fall 2007 without the course and the students in fall 2008, when the course was first offered.

Comparison Data for STAR Program (2007 to 2008)


 

Fall
2007

Fall
2008
with
On Course


Total
STAR Students

41

31

AVG
AU GPA

2.07

2.43

Highest
AU GPA

3.73

3.67

AVG
HS GPA

2.59

2.77

AVG
ACT

18.46

18.35

Retention
(fall-spring)

32/41
(78%)

30/31
(97%)

Retention
(fall-fall)
21/41
(51%)
18/31
(58%)

Grade
Point Ranges

Fall
2007

Fall
2008

.00
– .99

5
(12%)

0
(0%)

1.00
– 1.99

12
(29%)

8
(26%)

2.00
– 2.99

16
(39%)

15
(48%)

3.00
– 3.99

8
(20%)

8
(26%)

>
2.00

59%

74%


As the data reflect, students who started in the program in fall 2008 had a higher GPA (+.36) and first year fall to spring retention rate (+19%) than the students who started in fall 2007. 

As a result of the increase in GPA and retention, the students who begin the STAR program in fall 2009 will not only be required to take the fall course, but beginning spring 2010, they will also be required to take a course entitled, First Year Experience-Career Exploration for Personal Growth and Development during their spring semester.

The spring course will be designed to help students develop career goals and lay out a path for achieving these goals.  This course will continue the relationship that was developed between the students and the program coordinator during the fall semester.  During the spring course students will examine their own personal interests, aptitudes, values, decision making skills, academic plans, and career awareness. This personal, educational, and occupational information will then be organized into an individual course of action to help students in planning for their second year at Aurora University.  The course will meet once a week for 50 minutes during the 16 week semester.

If you have questions regarding the orientation, courses, or the overall content and structure of the STAR Program, you can contact Travis Ramage (STAR Program Coordinator) at (630) 844-5141 or tramage@aurora.edu.